Health Innovators
Health Innovators

Episode 93 · 1 year ago

4 critical strategies you might be missing w/ Aaron Enten

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Whether you’re looking to dive deep into customer discovery, uncover (track or change) valuable KPIs, or pitch an investor, there are many strategies you can utilize based on the path you take.

And, knowing when, who, how, and why you’re making decisions when commercializing your company is only half your goal - you need to know how to use the data you’re collecting.

When it comes to data and scientific research, Aaron Enten knows enough to know he doesn’t know it all - and he’s here to explain why that is and how you can move your company forward.

Building a successful startup is the holy grail for today’s entrepreneurs - and we’ve gathered strategies and insights that will help even the greenest among us.

Why not grab a chair and tune in? Listen to how Aaron navigated a complicated entrepreneurial space using creativity and determination - and came out whole on the other side.

Here are the show highlights:

  • What you think you know - and what you really don’t (6:11)
  • This is the secret to customer discovery (9:16)
  • When to reexamine pre-existing beliefs about your commercialization strategy (12:40)
  • The #1 way to do customer discovery WRONG (19:34)
  • When and why to revisit your business model canvas (21:53)
  • How to determine what your KPIs and measurable outcomes should be (33:12)

Guest Bio

Aaron Enten is CEO and Co-Founder of Insight Optics, an organization working to increase compliance rates by bringing trained ophthalmologists to the point of primary care.

An experienced CEO and CTO in the medical device industry, Aaron has built an enviable reputation in Medical Device Innovation, Technology Commercialization, Scientific Research, and Financier Relations.

Aaron earned his Ph.D. in Bioengineering and his MBA in Innovation Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

If you’d like to reach out to Aaron, you can find him on LinkedIn at Aaron Enten, PhD on his webpage at io.care, or email him at aaron@iocare.
 

You're listening to health innovators, a podcast and video show about the leaders, influencers and early adopters who are shaping the future of healthcare. I'm your host, Dr Roxy Movie. Welcome back to the show health innovators. On today's episode I am sitting down with Aaron Anton, who is the founder and CEO of insight optics. Welcome to the show, Aaron. Thank you for having me. Its great to be here. I'm glad to have you here and to dig into your journey in this conversation. So, before we get started, just tell our audience a little bit about your background and what you've been innovating these days. Yeah, so a little bit on me. I did my undergraduate out of Johns Hopkins in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math. I ended up going to work for a little bit as a project manager at a my electric prosthetics start up and realized quickly that I really liked the entrepreneurial space but had no idea what I was doing. So I ended up going back to Hopkins. I got my master's in bioengineering, Innovation and design, which is probably what you would be familiar with, in customer discovery, needs identification, stakeholder and scentive alignment, but specifically for the medical devices space. So it's how do you find problems and address those problems directly in a way that meets stakeholder needs? From that program I helped to cofound two different companies, one of which is still active. The other saw my first successful exit, and from there I wanted to get more deeply involved in the science. I ended up going to Georgia tech getting my PhD in bioengineering and ended up picking up an MBA along the way because something a professor told me really stuck, which was if you want to really have an impact in the space, it doesn't matter what you do or how you do it. If you don't build a business model around it, you're ultimately not going to be as successful as you could be. Preach great, that's that's most of my background. I found it inside optics during my PhD program we've been running since two thousand and fifteen. Two Thousand and sixteen. Our company is dedicated to preventing preventable diseases, which is a very broad category, but we have a niche focus right now and diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, and I've been running the company for the last two or three years now and we're starting to gain a lot of traction and grow pretty rapidly. That's wonderful. So obviously you are very similar to me, a lifetime learner, can't get enough of it. It's very true. It's like I don't want to learn the hard way, let's just go ahead and dig into those books and those here. So you know. That kind of just leads me to my first question. So how do you think the all of the learning that you've got, that you've gleaned, has changed or, if affected, how you are building and commercializing this company going forward? Yeah, one of the things that's was really stressed again and again, be it through my master's program in innovation and design or through the Tiger Program I went through as a PhD or in the MBA, it's it's all customer centric and a lot of people tend to target a like product market fit, where they're trying to push in to the space. They have an idea for a solution and they try to find the whole to plug it into. But my educational background is specifically how do you find that market pull, how do you...

...find the gap, the need and then build a solution specifically to fill that pain point and solve that problem so that you can create a solution that's actually impactful for what you're working on. And I feel like, compared to at least some of the companies that I've either seen or some of the processes that I've had friends go through, it's very much a let's talk to his any people as we can before we jump into any specific space and not be afraid to pivot and change as we continue to conduct customer discovery interviews down the road. Yeah, and I think one of the things that you kind of, you know, touch on is that it is like part of the culture of the business. It's just something that you do. It's not something that you did at one particular moment in time and now you don't do customer discovery anymore because it's done. You put it in the rearview mirror and now you build your business. Is Part of the fat woven into the fabric of the company and when you you don't stop customer discovery until you close the company. Yeah, it's evolutionary, right. Your come as your company grows and changes. You need to be sure that you're still addressing the same problems or needs that are present in the space and if those problems shift, you need to shift with them. Yep, absolutely, so you're right. Most of the people that I come across have a lot of bias about what the target customer wants, whether they're an engineer, whether they are a physician. They've been the industry, they identified it firsthand and just skip over that. They're just really excited about the product building that and you know, don't, don't they're so committed to the product in the solution they don't really want to learn anything that takes them that veers them away from their original vision with I think is why we have such a high failure rate of ninety five percent of innovations that brought to market fail. That's a I mean if you look at the history of inside optics, the the business model, that text, St Ac, the marketing strategy, all of it is dramatically different from what it was a year ago, let alone five years ago when the company was founded. Right. It's yeah, you can't be afraid to pivot and change and grow with the customer and the market as it's growing as well, and I think that's really important too, because sometimes we look at that as failure, like, Oh man, something's wrong with me. I missed this, I got this wrong because I've changed it, changed because I had to change this because I've learned something new, uncovered some new insights. And I think what you're touching on is that it's just part of this process, that the whole strategy development is, you know what I call like build, test and then optimize, and it's just really agile, right, just like software development, but the strategy itself is Agile. Yeah, yeah, it's it's a cyclic development process. Right. You start with asking questions and if you're not ending with asking questions, then you've you've missed the entire point of your discovery process. Yeah, yeah, Gosh, why is that so difficult for for for most people to kind of like grasp? You know, why are you, why are we so headstrong and want to just skip over that whole discovery I mean I have people that are like now, that takes too long or no, I don't have money for that. I got five million for the products, but I'll have anything for customer discovering. I mean it, I feel like there's there's very few excuses, because whatever excuses you can come up with, there's an answer to it. If it's you don't have the funding or the time, you could go through the I corps program out of NSF for an Ih and now give you fifty grand to fly around the country and ask people questions. Right. So there's their solutions out there. I have no idea what makes people so stubborn about wanting to ask those questions and really diving at probably some...

...level of ownership over the product. But if a PhD teaches you anything it's that you know nothing and right think need to be asking everyone everything that they possibly know. Isn't that so ironic, right, that you get this doctor at this PhD and you're like, well, what did you learn? I learned that I know nothing. That's right. I learned a very intense amount about this one little scope of space that is probably applicable in this one or two realms. But I think you step out of it. Oh Boy, am I out of my depth. So one of the things I think is just really interesting and exciting for me and having this conversation is that every single researcher that that's turned entrepreneur has had that same passion and enthusiasm for customer discovery. Right. It's just ingrained in you and that, to me is such a fundamental of of success, like it's a key ingredient. MMM, yeah, that's anywhere, be it reaching out through extra version, probably like you and myself, where you want to talk to as many people as you can, or be it through a more introverted sense, where you're diving deep into the research and reports. I feel like that that level of investigative query is just the essence of people who go through. There that a PhD program sure, yes, exactly. So let's just, you know, kind of stay here for a little bit, like what are some of the things that you learned in the customer discovery that we're just like real Aha moments for you, and maybe even what are some of the struggles, you know, because you know, getting access to people, getting them to participate, getting the state consistent, getting them to contribute the right insights that you need. You know there's a lot of challenges doing customer discovery. So let's talk about that a bit. Yeah, I mean my my secret to customer discovery is asked questions that aren't leading and try to get them to tell a story. Right, it's it's not in the yes no answers. It's not a would you use this product, because the answer will always be yes. It's in tell me about this or abstract it and say, I know this probably doesn't affect you or your practice, but what's a what is the common problem in the space? When your field, and as long as you're asking questions that are abstracting it and lead to stories and experience points, you just need to be able to pass through and pull out the content. Yeah, and people like to talk, and that's especially about themselves and especially about what they're working on and what causes problems for them. So just be willing to listen and ask questions, and you do well. Tell you how many times you know you do in the customer discovery interview, and you might, you know, have many of them going on right we have researchers on the team that are doing these interviews and I'm like, listen, you cannot book them back to back, because I know they're like, I only have twenty minutes, but then once you get them on the phone talking, they want to talk to you for an hour. They want to tell you everything because they're like, Oh, you want to know what I think I'll tell you. Yeah, I mean that's that's really what it is and for US specifically, one of the critical takeaways that we've found at inside optics is that for most of the disease states that were targeting, all of the medicines, interventions, technologies, therapies, they all already exist. Right when you look at diabetic and hypertensive rhetinopathy as an example, ninety percent of all of the diseases are preventable. As long as you're going to your ophthimologist once per year, you're not going to go blind, it will not progress. Yeah, it's as easy as that. But it's really the secret that we've really started to focus in on is its behavioral, not technological. Right. It's like telling a patient they need to...

...go home and Philoso Moore, and a significant majority of them just aren't going to do it. And unfortunately, in our space we're finding more and more that it's predominantly affecting impoverished, marginalized, other minority and severely impacted groups, and that's where we think that where you can make a larger difference is find out where the patients already are, what they already do, target them where they are so they don't have to have any kind of behavioral modification. And as long as you can work it so that the monetary and healthcare incentives are aligned for the physician stakeholders on either end, then you can solve the problem with technology, even though it's a behavioral problem. MMM, MMM, okay, so that makes sense. So was there anything that you learned that changed your pre existing beliefs about your business model, about your commercialization strategy? Yeah, I mean we started in a completely different disease set, right. We weren't even looking at diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy, let alone rhet ophthalmology in general. Right. We actually started in neurology and have pivoted dramatically from that space. But it was just asking questions of the people and finding out what the the problem state is and where their pain points lie and exist. And for a lot of the ophthalmologists that we were interviewing, especially in the neuro ophthomology space, it was not only can I not get patients into my door, but even with the amount of patients that aren't coming to me, which is more than half of the population that needs to I'm already over and cumbered and overburdened with the patients that I'm seeing. There just aren't enough ophthamologists in the space to do the job that needs to be done for preventive medicine. So it quickly became a well, where are the patients that aren't going going right now? And for the ophthalmologist that are over burdened, how can we offload that burden to another space that's more equipped or better capable of handling that volume of patients? And that's what ultimately led to our current business model and platform, where it's a communication. It's take a computer vision machine learning system, dskill it this specialized capture process to the point where you can put it into a nurse technologist hand and let them be responsible for recording the content and just give them real time feedback to say you've got the right information, it's of a diagnosable quality. And with those two here's a list of local ophthimologists to you that not only can they provide a diagnostic on the content you've captured, but the patients can follow up directly with the person who did the pre screening in the first place. HMM, okay, powerful. Yeah, would you say that this is disruptive, I would say that. According to Clayton Christenson, yes, it's a it's an older technology that sure, it's empowered by computer vision and machine learning, which are cutting edge tools, but at the end of the day, these are techniques that have existed continue to be developed and we're just applying them to a new space in a new way or an old space in a new way. So, according to that yes, I would argue that it's disruptive. As far as like, is it something that is brand new, cutting edge? No one's ever done it before, no one's ever considered it before. Probably not right. There's there's nothing new under the Sun. Yea. So how do you think that affects your commercialization strategy?...

Because you know there's there's a lot of pros and cons between man, I've got something like completely radical and revolutionary, never been done before, Oh man, but now people don't get what I'm doing. To where I'm doing something that people get, people understand, I don't have to do a whole lot of education around it and it's still solving a problem in meeting a need. Yeah, I mean it makes it a lot more tangible to the end users. Right at the end of the day. Our our specific goal is, how do we make this as easy as possible to use? How do we make it so that someone who doesn't have specialization or doesn't have specific training can still use the technology and conduct it at a specialized level? Yeah, how do we make it easy and accessible to not just the non adherent population but those marginalized groups and to the doctors that are conducting the exams as well? So, yes, we're using a bunch of this really cool, phenomenal technology, but we black box it so that they don't have to worry about how it's specifically working. They just know that it works and they can jump in, use it and have a wonderful user experience at the end of the day. Yeah, that's great. It's great. So you know, in my mind, the way I've mapped out this commercialization journey, that first step is test, that discovery research and testing those business ideas. So check got that under your belt. Not many people do, but you got it great. Okay, so let's move to the next one. Let's talk about your market strategy in Your Business Model. So, as you were figuring out and iterating Your Business Model, to share what that experience it was like some of the Ajas and some of the maybe ruses and discuff marks along the way. Yeah, so, I mean the biggest thing for us as a company was in that chicken and egg problem that spawns around any multisided platform. Right, we have we have not just two different users of the technology, but neither of the users are the ones that are drawing the true health benefit from the platform. Right. So how do you who do you target, why are you targeting them? What is your strategy of execution and then how are you going to convert that into something that scales down the road? And it was just a lot of talking to individuals, a lot of doing a B testing to see who we should be targeting, why we're targeting them, and it's a process that we're still deep in the understanding and evolution and discovery of. Because, yes, we've been able to on board our first customers. We've been conducting direct sales. We've identified a pathway that makes the most sense given the value add components for both the patient, the primary care and the specialist. Right. That direct sales pathway is not an ideal pathway to scale. Right, it's not something that we can just hire a thousand people across the country and start to roll out in every single state in multiple different facets. So we're starting to look now at who are potential channel partners that we can work with. Who are some physicians networks, or should we be going for like federally Qualified Health Agencies in the world communities? Where is the biggest impact? Who are the biggest players? How can we partner with them to drive a lot of value, a lot of quickly? Are Sorry, a lot of value very quickly? Yeah, but yeah, that's it's all discovery right now for us, which is why it's so exciting. How are you analyzing that? How are you doing those Av tests and kind of collecting that data and comparing I call it a path to profit, comparing one path to another,...

...and you know, one might lead to faster profit, one might lead to more profit. One, who write? There's all kinds of different pros and cons for each one. How are you analyzing that? Yeah, well, we've started off with segmenting it, because each individual channel or each individual potential go to market pathway is going to have dramatically different results and dramatically different answers to our customer discovery inquiries. But at the end of the day, it really just boils down to you need to talk to as many people as you can ask the questions that are going to lead to, hopefully, the answers that you're trying to get, without guiding them to the answers that you want to get. Yeah, yeah, and documenting it all incredibly heavily and reviewing it. There's one of my professor's back in the day, he specifically believed that there is no such thing as intuition in any space. Right. It's not a you just kind of know how things work. It's just an interconnection of processes and the ability to draw lines back and forth. So you're just internalizing a lot of the data and your brain is making those connections and spinning out results that make sense given the logic of the world that you've been presented so far. So how do you take that process of customer discovery, document it and draw those lines between different user cases and scenarios and stories in order to derive the best result for your company as it's growing? And that in and of itself is a process that changes as well. So it's just these layers of complexity on complexity in this ever evolving scope that always seems to be this unreeldy beast that you can never truly grapple. Right exactly. They're like, oh my gosh, when are we going to get there? And we're making progress along the way, even though we can't see it. And I think a lot of times, you know, as entrepreneurs we very anxious. We like to have things like done now, done yesterday, and aren't known to be really patient, and so you know, we can kind of get frustrated with the wrestling that happens in like let's just pick one and go with it, and you know, in sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn't work out. I think it's the wrestling. Are you using the business model canvas as a tool to work through that? Yes and no. Right, we created a business model canvas when we first started out and then we revisited it probably at least monthly, if not probably quarterly. We've redone it a number of times. We'd expanded it to the point where it's not just an eight and a half by eleven page, like this is at a white board, that no one could even make sense of it unless you've been doing it from day one. Right now we've gone back and cut it all down to eight and a half by a life out a bunch of stuff. It's a it's a wild ride, but I agree with you completely. There's there's always this mindset of just pick a path and drive at it, and I personally think that that's a you can sit and come up with all of these strategies and narrow down to what you think the best one is, but that could take just as long as pick a wrong path, drive down it, learn from it, pivot and change. Yeah, personally I'm of the mindset fail fast, right, fix something, go for it, drive down it, make sure that you've defined what success looks like before you go down that path, but also be prepared to pivot and change rapidly. And then, of course, I pare myself with my cofounder, who is very much a let's have a plan of action, let's get things organized, let's know what we're looking for and drive down these specific things and narrowed down specific scopes.

So it's about balance. It's a good yes, good merit said, balance, Yep, good partners there. Yeah, you know, when I think about the business model canvas, it's such a great tool, but it is extremely difficult to use when we're talking about multisided markets. It's it adds to the complexity of its one flat sheet of paper that you're trying to like will know this. You know this over here and know it connects to this. I mean it just becomes a lot more complicated. So we've done similar things with we've kind of created our own templates, but based upon that, those theories and those models, and I mean we pair those documents with a lot of other things. Right we're I hate mine maps, but they're incredibly useful and I don't have a more effective solution. The business model canvas is pretty like one, maybe two dimensional. When you're dealing with an ndimensional space, it makes it much more convoluted. I've yet to find a solution that really drives that. This is how you can really summarize it. Make it something that is almost pictographic and dry, reduces the n dimensional complexity to something that is just there and obvious. But you know, that's part of the challenge and the beauty of the space that we're working in and it's we're only adding more demen teams every time we go back and reassess the day. We're a platform technology. So just because we're focused on diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy today, doesn't mean that that's the only space that we're dealing in. We're actually working on contracts with partners now that are breaking us into the dermatology space and the dental space and the Odelar engology space. So it's you now we're adding. We went from a four dimensional stakeholder model to now here's similar structures that we've abstracted, but it's a completely different need set of completely different set of pain points. So I was just all over the place right keeping it organized as a monster, but we do a decent job of staying on top of it, I think. Yeah, we're part of part of the joy of entrepreneurship. Yeah, I'm sure if someone came in and looked at my notes, they'd be like, what is this? Who are you with? This even a thing that you can understand and comprehend? Right, so exactly, Hey, it's Dr Roxy here with a quick break from the conversation. Are you trying to figure out what moves you need to make to survive and thrive in the new covid economy? I want every health innovator to find their most viable and profitable pivot strategy, which is why I created the covid proof your business pivot kit. The pivot kit is a step by step framework that helps you find your best pivot strategy. It walks you through six categories you need to examine for a three hundred and sixty degree view of your business. I call them the six critical pivot lenses. As you make your way through this comprehensive kit, you'll be armed with the tools, tips and strategies you need to make sure you can pivot with speed without missing out on critical details and opportunities. Learn more at legacy and DNACOM backslash kit. So I want to talk about funding for a minute because you know, that's a key step step of the pre launch process, right, Getting Fund for the innovation, getting funding for the you know, to build the business. And and so I want to know, like, what's your take, what's your experience on funding these types of initiatives? Right, so, it's one thing get someone to fund your product, your platform, your technology. It's very different to fund and, you know, to build the business. But then funding, customer discovery, funding, continuous customer discovery funding. You know, five different business models with, you know, six different, you know, five different potential target...

...audiences like you described, and multisided markets. So what has that journey been like for you, again, pros and cons and your experience? Yeah, I mean we take advantage of every resource that makes itself available to us, being funding specifically for customer discovery. or we work very closely with Georgia tech through their create x and Tiger program so we provide internships to everything from undergraduate all the way through to masters and PhD level programs for analysis. We work closely with our customers. Ideally, write. Ideally you would have your customer paying for that discovery process. Right, if it's something that has enough financial and motivation and incentive tied to the process of that discovery, then it's worth it for you to on board it. As a specific resource, you can always hire in a new person and sure that they're trained, or hire in a new person to take over the ARD to find or establish things and go from there. But as far as funding, like just regular startup business funding is concerned, we've always been in these weird spaces where we're too funding has always seemed to align itself with we're too far along for the earlier stage, but not far enough along for the later stage, and it's always been this challenge of well, what milestones do we need to clearly define? One milestones do we need to establish before we start to approach these specific investors, and what milestones are we really defining as internal versus external, for really conveying where we are as a company and the value that we add and bring and have already established? So let's talk about that. What are some of the milestones that are really important externally to help you with either getting new customers are getting funding? Yeah, I would say the the first major milestone is actual product or solution validation. Right, it's not initial customer discovery. It's you have an idea, you think you have an understanding of the problem, but do you actually know what it is? Yeah, right, it right, the establishment of what are the pain points? What makes it a suck? What makes your solution something that people can't not have? Right, and how do you grow and evolve your technology from there? Is it is it a viable business? Is there some a model that exists around it? Is it something that you can build and sustain from there? I'd say the next critical milestone is, can you establish some level of MVP. Right, that's just even if it's just a power point that you can click and hyper link to slides internally. Yeah, it's something that you can put in front of customers that says, Hey, this is what we're working on. What are the problems? Not, is this something you would use, or is this a solution to your problem? But why is this wrong? Why doesn't it meet your needs? What are the gaps that exist in what we think is the solution to your space? Right, from there you kind of start to get into stand entered business bilestones. Right, you're looking at is their product market fit? Right, are the customers actually not only will they say yes, we want to buy this, but will they actually give you money? Right, actually, it's very if I came to you and said Hey, would you pay for this, and I'm not asking you to pay for it, the answer is going to be yes at least ninety percent of the time. Right. Then, if I come to you and say all right, pay me for it, that's an it's an entirely different ball game when you're asking them to take a dollar out of their pocket. Yeah, so try it's from there it's can you get your first customers. Can you find those key opinion leaders that can help you to drive and evolve product growth? Can you start...

...to make it into that death valley gap where, yes, your key opinion leaders really want and will use the technology, but beyond the key opinion leaders is, can you get that early majority? Can you start to grow? Can you reach, especially when you're going to VC's, can you reach those like K K K monthly recurring revenue thresholds? And that's we're at the very early stages of that space right now. Right we're trying to we we're operating absurdly lean right, if you look at what we've accomplished versus the amounts of money we've spent on it, it's we people would look at us like how, how are you eating and still have people excited about the broad sounds like you are incredibly created of and you're definitely a hustler and another what time. In Way, it boils down to drive, right, and this is something that I'm I am personally invested, not only financially but emotionally as well. Right, it's a it's a disease set that has affected people in my family. It's a disease process and a pathway on a grander scale that I can guarantee will affect me at some point in my life, if it hasn't already, and it's something that I can point to a person and go you know someone or you are personally affected by this yourself, right, yeah, very pervasive. Yeah, HMM Oh, it's drive and for me there's also a personal motivation to prove scientifically, which is a whole different conversation on burden of evidence, but to prove scientifically that I can take what I know and gather around me people who know more and better about different subsets of spaces and really create something that is of value to impact at least one patient's life. Right, that's all I want to see out of what I'm building. And one patient is like Oh, that's easy, no problem. That's the immediate gut reaction. But right, scientifically, prove that you've impacted one patient's life in a preventative scope is a whole ball game in and of itself. Absolutely so let's talk about that, let's talk about Kpis, let's talk about outcomes. You know, when we're doing those early stage pilots, we've got those early customers, you know, so how do we determine what those Kpis and outcomes, Messrs, should be? Yeah, in order to validate our solution, the safety the efficacy of what we're bringing to market. Yeah, luckily I don't have to define a lot of them, right, that I don't have to be the one that creates new spaces or subsets for Kpis. Right, there are people that have done it before, their entire books on it that you can go and reference. There are web based resources that you can go and pull information from and they're even groups that have completely categorized at all. So, like, if you're in the medtext space, or if you're a platform, or if your software as a service or a computer vision play, or if your education finance, whatever it may be, you can go through and pull the ones that define your specific subspace. But it's a matter of knowing, understanding and then being willing to modify and retroactively go back and look at some of the things that you're driving down. So, yeah, an example of that is we've recently started having a lot of conversations in the social impact space and we've come across the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for both healthcare and ubiquitous access, quality of care and reducing those inequalities in these spaces from a socioeconomic perspective, M and we have not been tracking any of that up...

...until like two months ago. So now we're looking at this saying this is exactly what we're doing. It's a beautiful space that defines the true value and impact that we can have. What are the KPIS that the United Nations has set for specific targets or goals in those spaces and we can go and pull them and retroactively list out this is how we were growing and look, this one connects over here to this revenue metric, or this one will connect to profit down the road, or this one drives potential investment dollars, and it's all interconnected at the end of the day. To say hey, which ones are going to create the most value for you as a company, while still proving and validating the technology as a specific target for you to grow down the road and in the future. Yeah, so I think that that is really insightful, is that you don't have to have it, you don't have to make it up, that it's out there and I kind of circle back to you know what you're talking about, and what you mentioned the beginning is the customer discovery. Is that asking the customers, those those stakeholders that you you know, instead of trying to act like you've got it all figured out, like, okay, well, what Kpis? Are More more important to you? How are you going to measure this as a successful initiative or engagement and doing that over and over with different customers and being able to see those patterns and go, okay, we've got it internally as well. Right, you got to treat your own company as its own as your own customer discovery incentive when you're looking internally. To right, you need to be flexible enough to adopt new things. You need to be able to go back and look retroactively and say, Hey, this was important and we weren't doing it, let's start doing it and see what it looks like now and really apply that moving forward. And you need to be willing to grow and change as it goes down the road. Right, if, at the end of the day, we old, we start tracking for the next year and a half KPI number twenty seven on our list and we get a year and a half down and we say, yeah, this was critical a year and a half ago when we adopted it, but looking at it now, it's just another metric and it's not really defining anything. Because we've moved to this stage, you need to be willing to understand not just that your systems of measurement are going to change, but that your specific growth pathway is going to be impacted by what you're looking at, what you were looking at and what you need to be looking at down the road right now. And I think, just to add to that, I think that getting a pulse of that on an ongoing basis while the those customer engagements are pilot engagements are in place, are so important because stakeholders change, right and the whoever was champion this initiative and said, Oh, these are kate, the KPI's were measuring, you know that person might not long no longer be there or the strategic initiatives within the organization could have evolved over time. And so you know you don't want to end up wasting time and effort getting at the diggin thinking that you made a home run and they're like yeah, but now we decided that we're really wanting to measure these three things. You know and making sure that you're collecting data on those things along the way, the right data to be able to prove that. M Yeah, yeah, and that's what customer discovery boils down to, right, at the end of the day, it's you're learning new things and if you're capable of adopting that new knowledge and plugging it into your system and using it to inform your decisions, your I'm not going to say that you're not going to fail. Right, you definitely will still fail, because everything constantly changes, but it'll be better equipped to hit the ground and pick up the speed and run with it then if you were to just go into it blind and not ask the questions to begin with. Yeah, yeah, completely. So let's just talk about pitching investors, you know. So getting we're still...

...talking about this topic of getting funding. And you know, one of the things that I hear very often from VC firms is or even pitch competitions, is that, you know, Roxy, I just sat through twenty pitches and I still only know what two of them do. Yeah, right. So, having that, clearly the primacy and latency right, it's the first one they heard in the last one they heard it right. Right, it's it's exactly or at it's not only that I don't know what they do, but when they tell me like Oh, and it's a billion dollar market and all I need is two percent and you know so. So, what is been some of your experience with pitching? You know you've raised money, you've won competitions, so clearly you're doing something right. What are some of the key ingredients to a successful pitch deck and that story element and some of the lessons along the way? Yeah, it's going to come back to being willing to change. Right the the hardest part about pitching is after every single pitch, regardless of who it is or what you've done or where you are now, an investor in the panel is going to sit down, look at you and say, why didn't you have this in your pitch? You should have had that in your pitch, and literally the investor before that was like, why do you have this in your pitch? You should completely eliminate that and shouldn't even talk about it. Right you want to just pull your hair out right there. It's a it's less about modifying and more about knowing your audience, knowing who you're going to be pitching to, and understanding what they're asking view right it may be. They may come at you and say, Hey, you said the one you only need two percent of one billion. And sure, that's a really great top down approach, but I really want to know the bottom up right. I want to know what you're going to do tomorrow, what your milestones are, where you're going to be, what you're going to market strategy is. And then you talk to the next guy who heard the exact same pitch and he's like, why didn't you provide a story? I want to know what the patient is doing, who they're talking to, the impact that it has in their wife. And it's really about trying to satisfy everyone without satisfying anyone, and and just boils down to who your market is, if you're going or who your audiences. If you're going to to pitch at a heavy social impact organization, then you need to be stressing the impact that you have in patients lives, the partners that you're working with that are already established, their level of impact for specific de Liver boals in a socioeconomic sense. And if you're going to venture capitalist WHO's like, well, how are you going to get me a ten x return in the next three years, you better be certain that you have how you're going to get them at an xt returning four years right on your deck. Right, yeah, but I think there's plasibility in there. To write you need, at the end of the day, you really need to have a convincing story, you need to be befriending the audience, you need to be making direct eye contact and all of the things that go along with it. But if it's not a rigid format, I'm a firm, firm believer of get through the pitch as fast as possible, because the QA is going to drive the bulk of what you're looking at. So you can get through your pitch in three to five minutes and you only have fifteen minutes, try to aim for the three to four minute mark and let the rest of the time be q and a from the people that want to know what you're doing. HMM, it's a it's a if you take the full fifteen minutes and you didn't answer a question and left no time for Qa, then you're kind of shooting yourself in the...

...foot. They're right. Yeah, of course you know. If it's a rigid you have twelve minutes to pitch and if you're only doing a nine minute pitch then that was a waste of our time and you can't follow the format and then know that audience as well and make sure that you're pitching to that audience right, right, right, Yep. So, Aaron, we have talked about so many amazing things here. You shared so much brilliant wisdom with us, with our audience. Is there anything else that you would want to share? Any other lessons learned that we haven't talked about? Any other pit falls to watch out for as we wrap up here? Oh my God, there's like a thousand and I don't think I could pick just one, but I would say the the biggest thing as a mentality, if you're entering entrepreneurial spaces and you are trying to break into this space, or you're already here and you've been doing it for a while and you just want some reassurance, I would say it's a mentality shift on the word failure. Right. Failure is not a bad thing. Right. Everyone's like, Oh, I took this funding and I went and validated this business model and I got to the text. Second then I put it in the customers hands and it just completely failed. That's not that's not necessarily a bad thing, right, if you now know what doesn't work and you can take that, modify it, change, pivot. You have to be flexible, you have to be in this space and the only way that you are going to know how to grow and know what to change is to be comfortable with failure and to drive at it as fast as possible. Right. Yes, absolutely, one hundred percent. Fail. Fail many times, fail fast, keep failing until you get to those Eureka moments in between. It's only negative if you don't learn something from right. Right. Yes, exactly. So are and how can soults get ahold of you if they want to follow up with you, learn more about what you're doing and just connect with you in this community? Yeah, they can learn more about my company at www dot care, just the letter I, the letter oh dot care, cere. They can email me directly. I'm Aaron at Io Docre, a Ron. If they want to learn more about the company or dive deeper, I'm happy to provide information. I'm happy to grant my calendar so that they can book time to talk to me directly, because there's there's something that's always missing from a facetoface perspective to him, but email and website are probably going to be the most effective ways to get ahold. I'm also on Linkedin. You can look me up. It's just Aaron Andon, Aron N ten, after the standard linkedin chain of things. How are awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate it. Yeah, thank you for having me. It was a lot of fun and I now need to go back through. I watched maybe like two or three of your past interviews and I think I need to go through and look through all a hundred of them and thank I'll be my next podcast binge. Awesome and feel free to give me some topics to talk about in the future. Absolutely awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for listening. I know you're busy working to bring your life changing innovation to market and I value your time and attention. To get the latest episodes on your mobile device, automatically subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast APP like apple podcast, spotify and stitcher. Thank you for listening and I appreciate everyone who shared the show with friends and colleague. See You on the next episode of Health Innovators,.

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